When Heather showed up to Bible Study on Thursday night, she asked me (as she'd arrived early) if we had any plans in place for Friday or Saturday night. She'd seen John's birthday in her calendar, knew Kenjon was going to have a short visit to Eugene, and wanted to pull something together to celebrate together.
That girl is too good to be true in her love for our family and efforts to make John feel loved and appreciated. With Kaela also around, we were able to quickly determine that Friday would work best (given the day of Webfoot on Saturday), so she was going to get a hold of Kenjon and see if that would fit for him.
It took until Friday afternoon for fans to very loosely fall into place. Heather wanted to keep it all a surprise, if possible, but to what extent was going to be a mystery to all of us.
As it turned out, Drew and Kaela were able to go ahead to Red Robin to reserve a table for 11 of us. (Good thing, too, as there were over 100 people waiting, and the wait time was an hour). Meanwhile, I'd communicated with Travis to go along with John with the normal "Friday Night Whites" - meaning, they'd show up around 6 and we'd expect to just hang out at the house. When John got home, I wondered if he thought something was up, as the kids and I were all looking "better than normal" and he actually opened the fridge to get something to eat and then decided he'd wait as he wanted to play a PS3 racing game with Brayden instead. (Perfect!) The Whites showed up, and then soon after, Heather - which surprised John a bit, but it was perfectly reasonable that she'd decide to just "crash" at our house on a Friday, so we ran with that plan.
Knowing our seating time was around 6:45, I waited a bit before suggesting that since I was still dressed up, maybe we could go out to eat. This is John's dream-come-true statement from me as he's always willing to go out, particularly to Red Robin. He quickly yelled enthusiastically "RED ROBIN" and off we went - with him entirely clueless that anything was premeditated. (Later he confessed he was just so thrilled that I offer to go out he didn't want to do or say anything to mess that idea up!).
Upon arriving, the place was packed. I faked putting on our names on the list. With it being so crowded, it took him about 10 minutes to even recognize that Drew and Kaela were waiting around the corner. He was happy to see them, assumed they were on a date, and asked if they'd be willing to join us. "Sure!" After another 20 minutes or so of waiting, Kenjon walked in. John was shocked to see him - and, of course, delighted - but still believed it had nothing to do with him and he had arrived just to have dinner with a buddy. As I gave Kenjon a hug, I whispered in his ear, "He's still clueless!".
I had a Cheshire cat grin on my face watching to see if John would piece it altogether...he finally asked, "Did you plan this?" and I could honestly say, "No, I didn't plan it". He accepted that, and if it weren't for my continuing grin and repitition of the answer with the emphasis on "I" I really think he would have ran with it for the rest of the night. Instead, Heather heartily deserved the credit, so we made sure she got it by coming clean with the story. John was SO DELIGHTED!
Once he'd been clued in, Mikayla gave him additional details...
Heather, explaining the deception....
Poor Kenjon, since our last fateful outing at Red Robin with him, they think they can stake claim to his "child-like attention" during the meal. It's like throwing a ball to a retriever - if he plays with them once and gets goofy - they'll want him to continue relentlessly.
Sporting some of Kenjon's accessories...
Drew and Kaela - willing to give up their "date" at Red Robin for us =)
The birthday sundae...
I don't think this look on Whitley's face is Kenjon's fault. I can attest to the fact that she hadn't slept for long durations on Friday, and at this point, it was past her bedtime... (but otherwise, she did super in her first time in a "big girl highchair" at the restaurant!)
Heather was able to get a little bit better out of her...
After Red Robin, we headed over to where Michael Chase was working at Dickie Yo's - if he wasn't able to get the night off to join us, we were willing to go where he was at! More pics to come from John's phone (the rest of these, courtesy of Kaela).
We were all content to call it a night around 8:30....Kenjon has already begun training for the NFL in L.A. - and was headed back Saturday - and both Heather and I were fighting a cold. Given we were leaving in the morning at 6:30am, it all worked out great to call it a night early. Short and sweet - but spot on for John!